Amazon, Foxconn face heat over China factory work conditions

Terry Gou chairman of Taiwan's Foxconn his firm is again under fire for allegedly exploiting workers

Terry Gou chairman of Taiwan's Foxconn his firm is again under fire for allegedly exploiting workers

Amazon is once again under fire, as a China Labor Watch report detailing the cruel conditions of Foxconn factory workers hit the web, pointing out the grueling work days required to assemble and clean devices like the Kindle or the Echo.

Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., better known as Foxconn Technology Group and one of the world's largest and most successful manufacturing companies, is a company not exactly short of a bob or two: In the last couple of years it has paid out billions of pounds to acquire Sharp and Belkin while also pledging to open a United States factory in Wisconsin.

Amazon has been accused of poor working conditions in Chinese factories building Kindle and Echo smart speakers.

According to the report, workers tasked with putting together Amazon Echo devices and Kindle tablets were required to work more than 100 hours of monthly overtime during peak season - almost three times the 36 hours per month limit stated in Chinese labour law.

The probe also found that the Hengyang workers were paid less than Foxconn workers in other Chinese cities - earning a monthly wage of 1,750 yuan ($273 US), while those at a Foxconn factory in Shenzen start at 2,400 ($375) yuan. Foxconn also told Reuters it's investigating the factory over the reported labor violations.

Amazon said it has called on a supplier to clean up its act at a Chinese factory where a watchdog group says it observed harsh conditions and mistreatment of workers.

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An undercover investigator at the factory found agency workers clocking up 80 hours of overtime in a month, exceeding the 36 hours permitted by law.

The watchdog group China Labor Watch, based out of NY, released a study over the weekend relating the conditions under which workers in the factory function.

The report noted staff were also subject to verbal abuse. Both are considerably lower than an estimated living wage of about $710, promoting employees to work as much as 80 hours of overtime in the case of the Hengyang factory. Amazon regularly assesses suppliers, using independent auditors as appropriate, to monitor continued compliance and improvement.

"If any irregularities are found, we will immediately improve and correct them, and safeguard our company's corporate social responsibility", Foxconn said in a filing to the Taiwan stock exchange.

Amazon said it was aware of "two issues of concern" at the Foxconn factory earlier this year involving despatch workers and overtime pay, CNN reports. "We are committed to ensuring that these issues are resolved".

"Foxconn works hard to comply with all relevant laws and regulations in all markets where we operate", it said.

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